To Rylan, A Thank You Letter

IMG_5428

My dearest Rylan –

As we rocked out to The Strumbellas and Florence & The Machines tonight while daddy cooked dinner (thank you Hello Fresh for coming into our life last week), you playing the drums and guitar while I was in charge of the trumpet solos, I briefly remembered…for a mere moment…what like was like when it was just the three of us.

The last four months have been a whirlwind. From welcoming your brother, the holidays and Caden’s RSV scare, you’ve been right here. Growing up by leaps and bounds before our eyes. And when I step back and wipe away all of the struggles – you are SUCH a 3.5 year old boy right now – I see the kindest and most patient little boy who has handled the chaos of becoming a big brother like an absolute champ.

Thank you my sweet boy.

[Read more…]

Caden: Four Months

Caden Four Months

It has been four months (and a few days) since Caden rounded out what I lovingly refer to as The Anderson Boys (Mike, Ry, Caden and even Kona). I forgot how much babies really start to change and mature right about now. It is so much fun and has reduced me to a puddle of mush.

I love this little one. From his Mr. Serious face to the throaty, body giggle when I tickle his neck and play peek-a-boo, he’s the sweetest soul.

[Read more…]

Newborn Mom Gift Guide

I am currently on social media an obscene amount of the day because it passes the time during 8+ nursing sessions. I am sure the mom shamers of the Internet would say I should spend all feeds staring lovingly at my sweet little baby, but at 2am and 5am the light from my iPhone is the only thing propping my eyelids open.

img_3978

My Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of gift guides. Guides for the working mom, stay-at-home mom, pet lovers, home cooks, tech gurus, girlfriends, travelers…you name it. But what seems to be missing is a gift guide for the mom with a newborn at home on a 2.5 – 3 hour 24/7 feeding schedule, protesting 99% of crib naps lasting longer than 45 minutes.

Well, the wait is over. If you know one of these weary moms and aren’t sure what she needs this Christmas I have a few ideas to share.

[Read more…]

Making His Mark: Caden’s Early Days

Through the years we’ll get to watch Rylan and Caden come into their own, and it will always be interesting to observe their inherent differences and similarities. We’re closing in on four weeks as a family of four and let me say, they couldn’t be more different…both in their features (check out the side by side! Ry is on the left) and in their early personalities.

img_3676

As I sat down to write this post (yesterday…could never get enough time to finish it) my eyes are swollen and bleary. I can count on one hand the good days/nights of sleep since coming home from the hospital. With Rylan it was polar opposite. I could count the bad days on one hand as he loved sleep but fought me on eating.

[Read more…]

Review: Babyzen Yoyo Stroller

Disclaimer: I was graciously given a Yoyo stroller by Babyzen to test as part of being a StrollerTraffic Scout. However, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Rylan is over 2.5 years old, which means we’re in the awkward stage of needing a stroller in many cases while also begging him to stay seated in it in others. There is nothing more frustrating than lugging a giant stroller to an event, only to push it empty as Rylan walks alongside. On the flip side, when I refuse to bring a stroller he doesn’t want to walk and gets heavy FAST.

These scenarios are exactly why we loved testing the Babyzen Yoyo stroller. It literally folds up to be slightly larger than my diaper bag and has a shoulder strap for carrying when not in use. It is truly the very best option for those “we may need a stroller, but I don’t really feel like dragging one,” independent toddler years.

Babyzen Zoo

And speaking of folding, it fits in an overhead airplane luggage compartment! Overhead. Just like a roller bag. Genius. I am chomping at the bit for our July flight to San Diego so I can finally test this out.

Rylan gave it two thumbs up as well. He said “this feels niiiice” when he climbed in and the generous sun shade saved us during one very sunny outing to the zoo where I forgot sunscreen. On that same outing I heard multiple moms walking by me say, “woah, look at that stroller. I need that” Here in Colorado it’s almost the law to have a BOB stroller so the Babyzen was chic, small and unexpected as we navigated the crowded zoo walkways.

Babyzen Dog Walk

Some of my other favorite features:

  • The tiny compact frame, when folded, leaves so much more room for our giant 85 lb dog in the back of my Subaru wagon. The Yoyo is Kona approved!
  • The storage basket underneath is actually functional, not always the case for small strollers. And I tend to still overpack my diaper bag so a basket is critical.
  • It rides surprisingly smoothly on bumpy surfaces (our neighborhood sidewalks are a wreck).
  • I know my mom will have a much easier time getting it in and out of the car, and unfolded, when she and Rylan go on their adventures.
  • The zippered storage pouch is perfect for a cell phone and small wallet (aka, morning or afternoon Starbucks run up the street).
  • The fabric feels extremely high-end and durable, especially the padded shoulder straps.

The Babyzen Yoyo is an investment, without a doubt. But if you’re a family who enjoys being on-the-go, it is such a smart, space-saving investment–especially if you also live in a small house or condo/apartment with limited storage options for strollers amidst all of the other bay gear.

A sincere thank you to Babyzen and StrollerTraffic for trusting me with a Yoyo!! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions.

Babyzen Thumbs Up

How to Jumpstart a Fitness Habit

Credit: Aryaziai.com

Credit: Aryaziai.com

I’m not crazy. Nothing about nearly daily workouts while juggling a husband, toddler and a full time career is extraordinary. Believe me. Millions of people do it every day, especially here in Colorado, and do it much better than me. They complete Ironman competitions, run ultra-marathons and compete in Crossfit competitions. I merely get my butt to the gym however it’s possible at least five days a week. Sometimes I exceed this goal, while other weeks I come up way short.

But I am flattered and excited whenever friends or coworkers ask me how I get it done. Fitness has become a passion and I truly enjoy giving personal tips for how I went from never working out to craving movement every single day.

The quick answer, I made it a daily habit. No excuses. Never miss a Monday.

For me it took about two months (plus a few years) of tossing excuses to the curb and saying no to a few commitments in order for me to grasp how daily workouts are absolutely possible. Whether you are just getting started, or looking to increase from two or three days a week to something more regular, I always go back to the following:

  • Block the time on your calendar like you would a meeting or doctor’s appointment
  • If childcare is a juggle, sit down with you partner on Sundays and map out workout schedules for the week ahead. Then put those workouts on each other’s calendar
  • Respect the calendar and others will begin to as well
  • Become a morning person. I’m serious. The only excuse I can count at 5 a.m. is being tired. However, by 5 p.m. my excuses range from being tired and hungry to wanting to be the parent who picks up Rylan from daycare and starts dinner
  • Sign up for classes with a penalty for not showing up. Over time you might be able to get away from this, but it’s really hard to hit snooze when $25 for an Orange Theory class is about to go down the drain
  • Try everything. Yoga, bootcamps, treadmill classes, Zumba, barre studios – try EVERYTHING until you find a gym/studio, fellow gym-goers and teachers who you absolutely love. People under estimate how powerful of a motivator community can be for workouts, even if you work out solo at a gym. The heart of my motivation comes, here in Denver, from Qi Flow Fusion and Orange Theory Union Station
  • Fill the gaps when all you have is 20 minutes between meetings or nap times. Download any of the myriad of smart phone apps for working out. I love the ab, squat and pushup challenges along with PopSugar Active. Follow trainers on Instagram and steal their moves. Lunge around the house while talking to your mom. Just move
  • Accept that you’ll miss things, like a happy hour or daycare pickup, or get your butt up early so missing happy hour (or pickup) is never an issue. Daily movement does come with a bit of sacrifice
  • Be okay with being called “crazy.” I can’t tell you how many times I hear it from family and friends. But those closest to me know I am tremendously happier, less stressed and more sane when I spin, run or lift out my worries and daily stressors. The gym is my perspective. My place to realize I have it really damn easy and I am lucky to have health and love in my life

I am in the best shape of my life at 32, almost 33. I look back at college pictures and cannot believe the way I took care of myself (meaning, not at all). While I have always been on the thinner side, just lately have I become truly strong. Strong feels so much better than skinny.

Motivate when you’re ready. Find kindness for yourself when you are not. The latter is where I struggle most.

Here’s to good health!

Minor Miracle. I’m Reading Again

On New Year’s Day this year I made one formal resolution — to read again.

For nearly a year and a half Rylan was my excuse (and a damn good one) for being far to tired, busy and generally overwhelmed on a daily basis to read books other than toddler cookbooks and a random US Weekly Magazine.

Reading

As of March 26 I’ve successfully finished two fiction books for fun. No where in these books were tips for getting your toddler not to hit, or sneaking in spinach to smoothies. These books were all for me to relax and escape. It feels fantastic to reconnect with such a simple yet important habit.

First I read And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I absolutely loved it. The weaving of Afghan history through numerous, heart breaking stories kept me intrigued from start to finish. I cannot recommend this book enough.

This week while in Florida I was able to plow through the beach read Where’d You Go Bernadette. This one took me a bit to get hooked. But hooked I was by about a quarter of the way through and I really enjoyed the sassy, fast-paced story with its unexpected twists at the very end. It’s a great vacation or weekend read.

Next I’ve downloaded The Boston Girl and I hope to dive in over the weekend during one or two of Ry’s naps. Or at the very least, a few pages each night before bed. Reading, no matter how riveting the plot, is like NyQuil for me. Three pages and I cannot keep my eyes open!

If you have other recommendations I’d love for you to them! I’m determined to keep up a realistic but steady pace this year.

Fastest March Ever

The end of March is around the corner, officially making it the most “on crack fast” month of the year so far. We had a lot to look forward to this month, which naturally makes it fly by in the blink of an eye.

I rounded out my 2014/2015 ski season on day 18 (not bad for having a toddler!) in Vail at the beginning of the month. Then the second weekend of March I got to sneak away to the luxurious St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder for a night with two dear college + mom friends. Our massages, quiet time sipping bubbles on the patio, shopping and a decadent moms-only dinner at Black Cat was just what each of us needed.

Then the very best part came…our week long Florida beach escape to Hutchinson Island with Mike’s parents and sister’s family.

IMG_9987

As a southern California girl I haven’t spent much time in Florida. The beaches and delicious seafood wildly exceeded my expectations and I took advantage of every moment. There were hours of sand castle building and chasing waves, reading and solo time while Rylan napped, afternoon Mai Tai’s and beers, good nights of sleep and quiet morning runs. Rylan ate lobster, clams, calamari, oysters and crab cakes like they were going out of style. I reconnected with my nieces and nephew during faux shark attack play times in the pool and beach walks for seashells. I cried when we left…always the sign of a good, unplugged trip. I can’t wait to share more pictures.

March has made me appreciate and reflect a lot. We’re healthy. And really lucky to be surrounded by friends who are like family. And speaking of family, I’m not sure anyone has two sets of parents, siblings and nieces/nephews as fun and endlessly generous as we do.

Simply perfect months are few and far between, but this has been one. I am clinging to the way my heart feels at this moment with all my might so I can tap back into it when future days or weeks are not so hot.

March 2015. One for the books.

A Thought on Motherhood

 photo

Earlier this week I was driving Rylan to daycare. Mike had been traveling, Rylan had been up every night coughing and I was simply wiped. In fact, later that day I tried to wipe what I thought was ink from my face only to realize it was the circles under my eyes. Sexy.

During our drive I was in a total zone. I was thinking about all of the things I wish we were doing now for Rylan, rather than focusing on all that we are doing with the limited time we have together as a family.

Sign him up for swim lessons. Find a Saturday music or movement class to meet, hopefully, other moms who work outside the home and some kids in our neighborhood. Read more. Say “screw the mess” and recreate one of the many art projects he completes at daycare on our front porch on a nice day. Go the the library for a story time.

But then I had this little personal epiphany. It made me smile and dissipated the lump I still get on my throat during many morning daycare drives.

I may have become a mom in an instant, but it’s going to take a lifetime of trial and error to become the mom I envision myself being.

I say “instant” because even though pregnancy is nine long months, I didn’t feel like a mom yet. I still got to sleep as much as I wanted. Go to the gym based on my schedule alone. Take trips without guilt and only keep cereal and milk in the house if life was too hectic for a grocery store run. Pregnancy chips away a little at your selfishness but not completely.

It was, however, an instant between the last push in the delivery room and the moment Rylan was put on my chest. Seemingly within an hour or two, all the nurses and doctors who hovered over me during labor were on to the next family and there I was–a mom. A clueless and terrified mom holding this tiny little boy. A clueless and terrified mom with a lot of hopes and dreams of what motherhood would look like.

Some have come true. Some have not yet.

As moms we tend to dwell on the “have not” when there is so much to celebrate on the other end of the spectrum. However, I am actually okay with the regularly questioning of myself. Asking myself, what we can be doing better? While exhausting it means we’re really in it–living parenthood every day. I care so damn much about making Rylan a well-rounded little guy.

This post is not intended for people to tell me that I am a good mom. I am not looking for empathy or cheerleading of any kind.

I simply feel the need to reach out and connect with the other mamas out there who feel the same way–that motherhood is an instantaneous shift, yet it takes every hour of every day to figure out what the hell you are doing!

I am thankful every day for my network of support–spoken and unspoken. And wine. I am very grateful for wine.

Overstock.com Ottomans

In the next week or two we will be ready for a full basement reveal. Yippee! Seriously, you are going to be pretty impressed I think.

While Mike has been slaving away and up to his ears in drywall mud, lighting, paint and furniture assembly, I’ve been busy with online shopping (and Copy Cat Chic blog stalking) and trips to Home Goods. While our main couch and chair are staying put for now, I wanted to complete the face lift by sprucing up the accents that make a room cozy and personalized. But on the cheap of course.

I’ve browsed Overstock.com for years but since I am generally wary of online shopping – I absolutely hate dealing with returns – I have never made a purchase. Until now. It started a few months ago when Mike found a Pottery Barn-worthy rug pad on Overstock for a fraction of the price. Score! Then I started hunting for two nice leather ottomans that could double as seating and storage for the basement TV room. Seeing that it’s the coolest room in the house and I am due at the end of July, I anticipate spending a lot of time down there.

Target had a few options, and of course so did the higher end stores. But when you are shopping for a basement that will soon be overrun with baby gear it seems silly to buy Crate & Barrel accents. Spit up on Restoration Hardware upholstery? I don’t think so.

Enter Overstock.com.

Credit: Overstock.com

The Contemporary Storage Ottomans aren’t necessarily “cheap,” but they are much more affordable than what I found at other places and extremely sturdy. I am so impressed by the weight and heft of the product, and the tray on the backside of the lid is extremely well constructed.

Credit: Overstock.com

The ottomans come in a variety of colors but we opted for two in the dark brown color to sit on either side of the fireplace. Committing to color in furniture is tougher for me as I tend to hold on to pieces, expensive or inexpensive, for a very long time. In fact, we just threw away a Target dresser that Mike built for me not long after we met, circa 2003. It was thrashed but I lugged it across state lines. Twice. But I digress.

These ottomans are a perfect seating + storage solution for any space, especially smaller rooms. I can’t wait to show you how they look in the finished room, hopefully next week. Arriving on our porch this afternoon will be yet another Overstock.com find — an accent table for downstairs. My fingers are crossed that I love it just as much as these!

What websites, or stores, are your go-to for affordable home decor finds?

 

Design by Designer Blogs